Rocky's Boots (1982) (The Learning Company)
Rocky's Boots is an educational logic puzzle game by Warren Robinett and Leslie Grimm, published by The Learning Company in 1982. It was released for the Apple II, the CoCo, the Commodore 64 and the IBM PC. It was followed by a more difficult sequel, Robot Odyssey. It won Software of the Year awards from Learning Magazine (1983), Parent's Choice magazine (1983), and Infoworld magazine (1982, runner-up), and received the Gold Award (for selling 100,000 copies) from the Software Publishers Association. It was one of the first educational software products for personal computers to successfully use an interactive graphical simulation as a learning environment.
Identifier Rockys_Boots_1982_Learning_CompanyDate 1982Mediatype softwareYear 1982Publicdate 2013-10-19 05:52:26Addeddate 2013-10-19 05:52:26Filesxml Sat Oct 19 6:06:13 UTC 2013Filesxml Sat Oct 19 6:08:49 UTC 2013Emulator_ext doEmulator apple2eLanguage English
The object of the beginning part of Rocky's Boots is to use a mechanical boot to kick a series of objects (purple or green squares, diamonds, circles, or crosses) off a conveyor belt; each object will score some number of points, possibly negative. To ensure that the boot only kicks the positive objects, the player must connect a series of logic gates to the boot.
The player is represented by an orange square, and picks up devices (the boot, logic gates, clackers, etc.) by moving their square over them and hitting the joystick button. When the boot has kicked all of the positive objects and none of the negative objects (obtaining a score of 24 points), Rocky (a raccoon) will appear and do a beeping dance.
Later, the player finds that you can use all of the game's objects, which components included AND gates, OR gates, NOT gates, and flip-flops, in an open-ended area to design your own logic circuits and 'games'. This is why many do not actually consider this as a game, but more of a visual design engine. The colors of orange and white were used to show the binary logic states of 1 and 0. As the circuits operated, the signals could be seen slowly propagating through the circuits, as if the electricity was liquid orange fire flowing through transparent pipes.
May 24, 2015
An all-time classic introduction to digital logic
I discovered this in the school computer lab sometime around the mid-80s, and I assumed it was just another puzzle game. I had a ton of fun playing it.
But many years—and a CS degree—later, I saw it running on an emulator, and I was delighted to discover that it Rocky's Boots was a surprisingly sophisticated introduction to digital logic.
Even though the graphics and sound were somewhat primitive even by Apple IIe standards, the instructional design is excellent: The game starts with a very reasonable tutorial, and it walks you through challenges that become gradually more complicated. By the end of the game, you're building surprisingly complicated circuits for a kid's game.
If you're interested in teaching games, this one is still worth playing today.